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Canada's banking regulator is launching public consultations on rules around mortgage lending as it says loan risks have increased considerably since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.Justin Tang/The Canadian Press

Getting caught up on a week that got away? Here’s your weekly digest of The Globe and Mail’s most essential business and investing stories, with insights and analysis from the pros, stock tips, portfolio strategies and more.

New mortgage rules could restrict more borrowers

Earlier this week, Canada’s banking regulator proposed new mortgage guidelines, including three new limits on how lenders grant the loans. According to Robert McLister, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions wants to skim another layer of the least-qualified borrowers off the federally regulated mortgage market. The proposal includes restricting how much banks can lend borrowers whose mortgage exceeds a certain percentage of their gross income, limiting the debt-service coverage exceptions lenders make to get around its borrowing stress test and introducing new interest rate affordability stress tests. These new mortgage guidelines come after the Bank of Canada has ramped up interest rates by four percentage points since March 1, 2022 and the average Canadian home price has plunged 22.4 per cent in the past nine months.

What led to the holiday travel chaos

With cancelled and delayed flights owing to severe weather, lost luggage, stranded passengers and general airport chaos, this holiday season might go down as one of the worst travel times in recent Canadian aviation history – and that includes last summer, when staffing shortages couldn’t keep up with travel demand as COVID-19 restrictions were lifted. So why, in a country in which there is a winter season, were airlines and airports unable to operate as usual? And how did the airlines, which make much of their revenue selling tickets to people eager to escape cold weather, find themselves unable to operate? Eric Atkins investigates what amounted to the perfect storm: snow on Christmas week, no seats available and major disruptions across North America.

How Canadian and American household debt will differ in 2023

If you’re a visual person who loves seeing issues charted out, don’t miss Jason Kirby’s opus of metrics that cover everything from housing, interest rates and inflation, to job markets, Canada’s energy transition, immigration and Indigenous reconciliation. Over dozens of charts, Kirby asks experts – including economists, investors, academics and business leaders – to help make sense of the year ahead. For example, Beata Caranci, chief economist at TD Bank Group, looks at the difference in household debt-service ratios between Canadians and Americans, and the U.S. deleveraging cycle after the 2008-09 global financial crisis now pays dividends. The reason for the uptick in debt risk for Canadians today? The popularity of variable-rate mortgages during the pandemic and the dramatic rise in interest rates.

Canada must change our health care spending, says Bill Morneau

More than two years after resigning from cabinet and the House of Commons, Bill Morneau is about to release a book – titled Where To From Here – that looks back on his five years in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government and offers a 325-page road map for navigating the country’s economic and social challenges. One of those issues, Andrew Willis writes, is health care spending and the unsustainable rise in costs amid an aging population. In Mr. Morneau’s view, he and other political leaders have avoided the hard work of health care reform, and instead increased federal transfer payments and other sources of cash for a system that now consumes 13 per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product. Going forward, the former cabinet minister writes, federal transfers should be conditional on commitments from the provinces to achieve “measurable progress” on reforms, overseen by an agency with representatives from both levels of government.

Cheap groceries are diverted from the landfill

One way to fight food inflation is by actually using all your groceries. Another way is to buy heavily discounted food nearing its sell-by date. According to Susan Krashinsky Robertson and Sean Silcoff, a number of mobile apps are making that possible by allowing grocery chains to post and sell food at deep discounts. Products are generally in very good condition and discounts are as high as 50-per-cent off. Toronto-based Flashfood Inc., for instance, only sells from stores owned by Loblaw Cos. Ltd., and in Quebec, Montreal’s FoodHero sells discounted food from Metro Inc., and from Empire Co. Ltd. banners such as IGA. In an era when companies are touting their environmental, social and governance bona fides, reducing food waste has become a bigger priority for grocers. Tech companies are taking a cut by helping them sell what would otherwise go in the bin.

What to talk to your investment adviser about

The past year was historically bad for investors because the twin pillars of portfolio building – stocks and bonds – were hammered. Canada’s bond market benchmark, the FTSE Canada Universe Bond Index, fell 11.7 per cent last year on a total return basis, and recent stock market declines have affected many popular TSX-listed dividend stocks. Portfolios that would have been considered prudently diversified a couple of years ago did not fare well, which means you and your investment adviser have a lot to talk about. Rob Carrick outlines five points to hit in your next discussion.

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Now that you’re all caught up, prepare for the week ahead with the Globe’s investing calendar.